I'm sure this has been discussed million times so please spare with me I live in Perth WA at the moment and would like to visit next school holidays somewhere (abroad) everything seems to be so expensive that New Zealand is my choice. But now I only have two weeks, so doing two island is too much???? So which one, we have friends in both islands so either way would be good?
Any tips? Do you say buy a packet thing flight and car / campervan hire or shop around? And in April is campervan madness, I don't like cold, hey I live in Perth Anyway thanks for your patience and looking forward to tons of replies....
It really depends on what you want to see and do.
The South Island is gorgeous in April, as autumn colors start to blaze forth from Lake Tekapo on down, with the highlight around Queenstown. If you're really lucky, the Southern Alps might receive a first sprinkling of snow while you're there, but even if not, nature should be putting up on absolutely awesome show for you. There might be some rainy days, but overall it should still be sunny and relatively warm; great weather for hiking.
The North Island won't see much of autumn yet in April, and temperatures should be quite high, especially north of Auckland - if perhaps not up to your Perthian standards. Still, the usual North Island attractions apply, with bustling cities, culture and activities. You could head north to the Bay of Islands, or see volcanic wonderlands around Rotorua.
Campervanning does get kinda cold in April, but it's survivable. On the other hand, April is the shoulder season, so you should be okay booking hostels no more than a day or two in advance (except if you want private rooms, then you should still book the entire trip weeks in advance), which means you should also be good just renting a car on your own and traveling from hostel to hostel.
Thanks i think the South Island is the winner, want to see what the nature got to offer. Any suggestions for itinerary, probably flying nto Christchurch.
day 1: Arrive Christchurch, see Christchurch.
day 2+3: Pick up your car or campervan, drive to Kaikoura (2.5 hours). Go whalewatching, and walk the peninsula walkway to see seal colonies.
day 4: Drive to Nelson (3.5 hours), see Nelson.
day 5: Do a daytrip to Abel Tasman National Park.
day 6: Drive to Hokitika via the west coast (5 hours). See the rough coastline. If timing works out, be at Punakaiki around high tide to watch the blow holes perform.
day 7+8: Drive to Franz Josef glacier (2 hours), hike up to the glacier. Gaze in Peter's Pool and walk the Roberts Point track, see Fox glacier (half an hour away). Do a glacier hike (onto the ice itself) at either glacier, or consider splurging on a helicopter flight with glacier landing, if the weather is good.
day 9+10: Drive to Queenstown (4.5 hours) via Haast Pass (stop for the impressive waterfalls). See Queenstown and maybe visit Arrowtown. Go bungy jumping, or walk the one mile creek track following the old waterpipe.
day 11: Do a Milford Sound daytrip (take the bus; it's a 13 hour day, so you really don't want to drive yourself, especially since you'd only be stuck behind the busses yourself anyway).
day 12+13: Drive to Lake Tekapo (3.5 hours). Visit Mt. Cook en route if it isn't covered in cloud (look at over Lake Pukaki to determine this). Relax and gaze out over the insane blue waters of Lake Tekapo. Climb Mt John for awesome views over the Southern Alps. Eat wonderful Carbonara Pizza at Pepe's. Consider splurging on a helicopter flight with glacier landing, if the weather is good.
day 14: Return to Christchurch (3.5 hours), fly out.
For alternatives to this itinerary, or if it all feels kinda rushed (it shouldn't be too bad, but on the other hand, most of these places do deserve more time to be spent at them), the bit I'd cut first would be Kaikoura/Nelson/Abel Tasman/Hokitika. You could cut straight to Franz Josef Glacier from Christchurch by going via Artur's Pass - that gives you five extra days to divide over the rest of the itinerary, or to do a sidetrip to visit those friends if they don't live anywhere en route.
Driving times are estimates for pure driving time in a car, btw - add 10-20% for places you want to stop at en route to marvel at the beautiful nature, and add another 10-20% for driving in a campervan, especially when climbing passes (from Franz Josef to Queenstown, and from Queenstown to Lake Tekapo).
[ Edit: Edited on Mar 5, 2008, at 6:13 AM by Sander ]
Thanks Sander, Friends in Invercagill so might skip the first bit as you suggested, but otherwise sounds like a plan
I live in Invercargill!! You should keep in mind it'll be getting pretty chilly here by then Especially when you're coming from Perth!! I imagine it'll be a considerable temperature drop for you lol
I'm originally from Finland, so have to just pack my summer clothes from home lol....